What to know about Independence Day celebrations at Mount Rushmore, in Washington, DC
What to know about Independence Day celebrations at Mount Rushmore, in Washington, DC

By Morgan Phillips | Fox News

President Trump will head to South Dakota Friday for an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore.

President Trump will head to South Dakota Friday for an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore, the first president to do so since George H.W. Bush in 1991. Then on Saturday, he’ll head back to Washington, D.C. for a celebration on the National Mall.

Here’s what to know about the Fourth of July celebrations:

Mt. Rushmore — July 3

There will be fireworks

Pyrotechnic displays at the National Park have been banned for the past decade due to concerns about wildfires and groundwater pollution, but the president has been pushing to bring them back. “What can burn? It’s stone,” Trump asked in January.

The National Park Service told Forbes it has “robust, highly trained and skilled” fire response services at the ready and that an incident management team will ensure conditions are safe before making the final decision on the fireworks.

There will be thousands of spectators

There are 7,500 seats available to watch the display before the 60-foot stone presidential carvings and 125,000 have applied to receive tickets, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

Just as with the president’s rally, some have displayed concerns over COVID-19. Gov. Kristi Noem said on Fox News this week: “In South Dakota, we’ve told people to focus on personal responsibility.”

“We told those folks that have concerns they can stay home,’ she added. Face masks will be offered to those who want them.

South Dakota has the 11th lowest coronavirus infection rate in the country, and the biggest concentration of cases is at the opposite end of the state in Sioux Falls, nearly 300 miles away. However, tickets have been requested by people from all over the country, including states which are seeing a spike such as California, Texas and Florida.

How to watch:

If you don’t have a ticket, you can livestream the celebration on the South Dakota Department of Tourism’s website.

In addition to fireworks, Noem and Trump will give remarks, there will be presentations of Native American culture, as well as performances by the U.S. Air Force Academy band and military flyovers.

Festivities begin at 4 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Friday, July 3. Fireworks are scheduled for 9 p.m.


Washington, D.C.- July 4

One of the largest fireworks displays ever is expected.

Back in D.C., a celebration on the National Mall will feature one of the largest fireworks displays ever and as many as 300,000 face masks will be given away to those who want them.

A mile-long firing of 10,000 fireworks is expected, “the largest in recent memory,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement.

Where to watch:

Bernhardt said the fireworks display, which will begin around 9:00 p.m. ET and last for approximately 35 minutes, will be visible throughout D.C. and Northern Virginia, including public locations such as Anacostia Park, Meridian Hill Park, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

The department also said that more than 800 acres of the National Mall and Memorial Parks would be accessible for viewing the flyovers and the fireworks, including the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, World War II Memorial, East Potomac Park, Washington Monument grounds, and the National Mall grounds.

President Trump will make an appearance

The president and first lady Melania Trump are also expected to participate in the celebrations, hosting a “2020 Salute to America” on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday, July 4, which will be streamed on the White House website.


The event is sure to be costly

According to an Inspector General report, last year’s Salute to America event cost $13 million, double that of celebrations 2016 to 2018. Like last year, donations are helping support part of the cost of the July Fourth events, Bernhardt said. A bulk of the cost will be paid for by annual federal appropriations.

This will be the second year with a focus on military-style events and will include Defense Department flyovers. “President Trump’s 2020 Salute to America will be a patriotic tribute to our men and women in uniform,” Bernhardt said.

There will be no military vehicles rolling through the streets this time, but stationary Bradley fighting vehicles will be on display.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has some concerns

While Bowser doesn’t have the authority to shut down the celebration because it’s on federal land, she’s expressed concerns about coronavirus dangers with such a large crowd. She said she’d browsed the Interior Department’s statement on its July Fourth plans and did not think it was consistent with CDC health guidelines.

“We know this is a special event for the Department of Interior. We’ve communicated to them that we do not think this is in keeping with the best CDC and Department of Health guidance. But this event will take place entirely on federal property,” Bowser said.

Washington is currently in Phase 2 of its reopening plans, and Bowser asked district residents to avoid large crowds and celebrate July Fourth at or near their homes.

“We are giving D.C. residents the same message about any of their outings for the holiday weekend. Ask yourself, do you need to be there,” she said. “Ask yourself, can you anticipate or know who all is going to be around you? If you go downtown, do you know if you’ll be able to social distance?”

Bernhardt said visitors will be encouraged to wear masks and keep a six-foot distance from others but did not indicate that would be mandatory.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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